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Narcotics Linked to Patient Satisfaction for Low Back Pain

Last Updated: August 31, 2009.

Patients with chronic low back pain are more likely to be satisfied with their provider if they receive narcotics, and more likely to seek another provider if they lack insurance, according to a study in the September issue of The Spine Journal.

MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with chronic low back pain are more likely to be satisfied with their provider if they receive narcotics, and more likely to seek another provider if they lack insurance, according to a study in the September issue of The Spine Journal.

Andrea S. Wallace, Ph.D., from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and colleagues conducted a telephone survey of 624 patients with chronic low back pain regarding their satisfaction with their last health care provider visit in the previous year.

The researchers found that 69 percent of patients reported satisfaction with all elements of their care and 63 percent said they did not intend to seek care from another health care provider. Patients who were not satisfied were more commonly younger, in more pain, Hispanic, and uninsured. Narcotics use was significantly associated with satisfaction (odds ratio, 2.12). Patients who intended to seek care from another provider were also more commonly younger, in more pain, in worse mental and physical health, and African-American. Lack of insurance was significantly associated with intent to see another provider (odds ratio, 2.97).

"Patient satisfaction with chronic back pain treatment is likely complex and involves factors at the individual (age, race/ethnicity), process (medication prescription), and system (insurance) levels," Wallace and colleagues conclude.

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